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Parent’s view: Looking after yourself

Hear from a parent's point of view about looking after themselves as well as their child who is suffering from depression.
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Whilst everything was going on with Emma, I realised that I was depressed as well. I was suffering the low moods, irritability, tired, no energy. Just seemed to be sinking, spiralling out of control. Just wasn’t getting any better. My brothers, and sisters, and cousins, everyone was there. Not overbearing or anything, but a phone call, how are you doing? And I found that so important. Because soon as I started to look after myself, that impacted on Emma. Because if I was happy, and positive, and energised, she became positive and energised. And even when you don’t feel like it, you’ve got to lift yourself up. And if you keep doing that, it will pay off. They will feel it.
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And that is what is important to them, because then, it lifts them into a more positive place. And that’s your starting point, isn’t it? You’ve got to look after yourself. So important.
Looking after someone with depression is NOT easy. It can be very hard work, particularly when you care about that person deeply and when you want to help them to feel better (and sometimes everything you try doesn’t seem to make a difference).
Where does that leave you? Do you tend to keep your own needs at the end of your ‘to do’ list? Do you still do the things that matter to you and that give you meaning?
Parent’s reflection:
You really need to look after yourself. I know, it’s easy to say. The thing is, looking after anyone with depression is hard work. There is no moment when the fever breaks, the temperature drops, the blood tests say “normal”. There is only judgment. Considered judgment. Yours and the doctor’s. This requires a degree of trust from a parent. You learn to trust the counselling, the professionals, your own judgment and your child. Like I said, at the end of this journey you will have grown. Growing is hard work and it takes energy! So look after yourself any way you can; swim, run, walk, get outside and away from your household environment for a while each day. Meet friends, eat well and give yourself and your depressed teenager some treats along the way.
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Understanding Depression and Low Mood in Young People

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